Take up something for Lent

The season of Lent begins on Wednesday 2 March with the Eucharist at 7 am at All Saints and 10.30 am at St James. The services will also include the Imposition of Ashes. I hope as many as possible will join us on the day. On the day before, Tuesday 1 March, come and share pancakes and the burning of last year’s palm crosses. This gathering will commence at 6 pm at All Saints. Bring friends and children along.

Lent has traditionally been understood as a time for fasting, alms giving and prayer. This was my first experience of Lent during my adolescence, a rather dour time, lacking any form of anticipation and possibilities, rather than being a period of reinvigoration and inspiration. Instead, it was a time of brow-beating, the events of Good Friday and Easter Day apparently lost somewhere along the way. In later years I look on the season of Lent as a time of recreation and inspiration while still embracing the need for prayer, alms giving and fasting. I find it interesting that in our secular context elements of Lenten practices have been taken up with events like febfast for charitable fundraising. I am not suggesting that we abandon past practices including the giving up of something, but rather, as well, take something on that will challenge and encourage you on your spiritual journey. There will be two occasions when we will ‘break open’ the scriptures – Tuesday evenings at 7.30 pm via Zoom and Thursday morning following the 10.30 am Eucharist at St James.

During Lent we will take up a weekly gold coin collection for Anglican Overseas Aid and Anglican Board of Mission. I would like to encourage everyone to place a gold coin in the boxes provided, one at St James and All Saints, each time they come to church. Of course you can deposit more than one coin, or even notes. I will donate $10 for every $50 collected through the boxes.

Over the past few weeks we have been hearing from Luke’s Sermon on the Plain as our Gospel readings. Luke stresses the needs of the poor and our social obligations and reminds us not to flatter ourselves until we are good through and through. In the Gospel for this week we are given the splinter and the log to ponder over. It is a reminder to us to use the same standards for ourselves as we do for others.